Weekend Itinerary: Palm Beach, FL
During the week and on Saturdays, put your wallet away--matches are free. Pull your car right up to the field, and set up your tailgate spread just feet from the action. Sure, you will see your share of Mercedes-Benzes, but they're parked alongside VW Beetles, ramshackle pickup trucks, and soccer-mom-friendly SUVs. Spectators (many of whom are players) are more than happy to initiate a novice and create a new fan. The atmosphere mirrors that of a kickball tournament--zero pretension.
Polo players compete in Palm Beach.
Although the International Polo Club Palm Beach is a private club, with members-only privileges, the polo matches themselves open arms wide to the public. Forget the idea of polo as an elite, invitation-only activity.
The club wraps up its season (January-April), which draws some of the world's best athletes from the worldwide circuit (Argentina, Palm Beach, the Hamptons, and beyond), including the current No. 1 ranked player, Adolfo Cambioso. Not to mention Nacho Figueras, member of the Black Watch team--there's a reason he's a Ralph Lauren model.
photo: Nacho Figueras (second from left) and his Black Watch teammates rest on the sidelines.
Gardenhouse, a furniture store, stocks bright, candy-colored pieces: a kiwi green dining set, chaise lounges covered in supersize flower fabric, and a pink patent leather ottoman. Owner Cheryl Maeder buys vintage and redesigns with modern flair. How's that for recycling? 437 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33407; www.gardenhousedecor.net or (561) 832-8260. Accessories start at $20.
If you could spend hours rummaging through your grandma's cedar chests, don't miss Etc. for framed art posters, Tiffany lamps, and objets d'art for your home and garden. 536 Northwood Road, Palm Beach, FL 33407; (561) 653-0121. Items start at $25.
Pop inside Circa Who, a furniture and accessories store for those who wish it were 1973. Tracy DeRamus and Dawn DeCesare have eyes for all things groovy. 531 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33407; www.circawho.com or (561) 655-5224. Accessories start at $10 and furniture at $50.
Though it's consignment, you'll find brand-name clothes, such as Chanel, with the tags still attached, at Deja Vu. We found a $700 Italian Etro jacket for $72.50. Try that on for size. 219 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, FL 33480; (561) 833-6624.
photo: The goods are aplenty at Gardenhouse. Find colorful indoor-outdoor chairs, fine-art photography, and seashell mobiles.
Grab a bite at Jade Kitchen, a quaint sidewalk cafe with to-die-for lobster rolls. Order the iced tea; it comes with fresh mint and a lemon icicle for a swizzle stick. 422 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33407; (561) 366-1185. Lunch for two around $30.
Cafe Centro's extensive menu of Italian specialties will win you over. Start with La Classica Margherita pizza, and then move on to chicken piccata--the yummiest version this side of Rome. 2409 North Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33407; www.mycafecentro.com or (561) 514-4070. Dinner for two about $50.
For a picnic of the "Champagne wishes and caviar dreams" caliber, stop by co-founder of BET Sheila Johnson's Market Salamander Palm Beach. This epicurean playground, the perfect place to get your spread for the polo match, stocks everything from foie gras and baked snapper to chicken salad. Fill a picnic hamper with charcuterie, olives, smoked salmon, and the like. 155 North County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480; www.market-salamander.com or (561) 659-6772.
photo: Sit outside, shaded from the Florida sun, at Jade Kitchen and enjoy the mouthwatering lobster rolls.
Make Plans To Go
Contact the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2504 Church Street, Galveston, TX 77550; www.galveston.com or 1-888-425-4753.
photo: Polo matches attract families and their furry friends.